Thursday, December 30, 2010

Keep Your Clothes On!

Revelation 16:15
Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.

That which is done in darkness will be exposed to the light. Some great pictures have been destroyed in their development because they were exposed to the light too soon. Before the digital age, pictures were developed in a dark room where special lights helped to bring the image out of the negatives. Something good could come out of a negative when allowed to properly develop. The photographer’s vision could manifest if the negatives were not exposed. There was something beautiful that the visionary had intended to come out of this negative but he needed time in the dark room before the lights were turned on. If the lights were turned on too soon the world would never see the vision come out of the negative.

Many times our greatest work is not able to materialize because of shameful exposure. How many great men and women of God have been ruined by shameful exposure of something negative they had hid in a dark room? Some of us made it through this year without being exposed not because we are so much better than everybody else who did but because God gave you time to develop a negative into a positive.

God’s given us time to get it together but time is running out. In 2011, you should make sure everything negative is already finished and get your clothes ready so you will not be shamefully exposed.

1. Stay Awake. It’s important to be sober. Sometimes, when we are intoxicated with drugs, sex or alcohol we are sleepy. We don’t make good decisions when we are sleepy. Jesus asked his disciples, Peter, James and John to stay awake to watch while he prayed. He came back to find them asleep on the job. This is the hour to stay awake to be sober.

2. Keep your clothes. I always keep my clothes near my bed in case I have to wake up to defend my house or go see about the kids. Your clothes represent righteousness. Paul cautioned us to put on the full armor of God to withstand the attack of the enemy. Jesus talked about the man who was thrown out of the wedding banquet because he didn’t have on wedding clothes. We keep our clothes on when we are prepared for warfare and we are living right.

3. Avoid shameful exposure. God always gives warning before exposure. When Jesus comes back like a thief he will have already warned you before he comes this last time without warning. Get yourself together now because next time there will be no warning.

Dear God, thank you for giving me time to get my negatives together and turn them into positives. I'm clothing myself in righteousness and right living so that my good will not be spoken evil of. I want to be ready when you come.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

You're Too Close To Quit!

Revelation 14:12
This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.

As the time of Jesus’ return gets closer the devil’s attack is going to increase because he knows his time is short. No one knows the time or day when Jesus will return but we can recognize the signs of the time; Wars and rumors of war, plagues, famines, and persecution of those who follow Jesus. It’s enough to make you want to give up. Many of us have suffered from Post Traumatic Stress disorder. It’s what most soldiers suffer with after they have been through the trauma of war and been through prolonged fight or flight. Although soldiers go through ten times worse trauma than we could ever imagine still our minds are fatigued from the stress of living through this recession.

This past year has made many of us entertain giving up the fight. One lady the other day said, “I’m tired, I can’t do this anymore. I just want to end my life.” I wanted to encourage you and her this morning by saying, “you’re too close to quit now!” There is a breakthrough, a turn around waiting on the Body of Christ. 2011 God is going to come through and restore much of what we lost last year. This economy is recovering but we have got to patiently endure or we will miss the turn around.

As Christians, we must practice patient endurance. The race is not given to the swift nor to the strong but to those that endure to the end. Those that wait on the Lord will renew their strength they will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get weary. They will walk and not faint.

How do we patiently endure?

1. We have to encourage each other. As Christians, we have to consistently encourage each other through words of affirmation, inbox, texts and telephone calls. You should send someone a note of encouragement this morning. It could be the difference between life and death for them. I Thes 5:11

2. We have to encourage ourselves in the Lord. I Sam 30:6 sometimes instead of waiting on somebody to encourage you, you have to encourage yourself like David did.

3. Regularly attend worship. Hebrews 10:25 It’s in worship where we encounter the spirit of God and we can touch & agree with other believers through the power of prayer.

4. Obey God’s commandments. James 1:23 Jesus said if you love me then keep my commandments.

5. Remain Faithful to Jesus. Revelation 21:7

Dear God, give us the strength to endure. Our reward awaits us if we do not shrink back. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. Weeping may endure for the night but Joy comes in the morning. Thank you for getting me through the night. Its morning Time!

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Signed, Sealed and Delivered!

Rev. 9:4
They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

I’ve done a lot of foolish things that I really didn’t mean. I could be a broken man but here I am, signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours.—Stevie Wonder

Whenever a King sent out a message he would sign the letter which made the decree irrevocable, seal it with wax and imprint of his signet ring which gave it authority, and it would be delivered by a messenger.

You and I are that letter. We are a letter written by the hand of God for the world to read. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

When we belong to God we are Signed, Sealed, and Delivered

1. Signed. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior the Holy Spirit writes on our hearts the word of God for the world to read. Our names are written or signed in the book of life. When there is an athlete or an artist with gifts or talents, often times they wait to be signed before their careers take off. Our gifts/talents will never take off until we allow God to sign us up for the Christian jubilee and write our names on the row. I’m glad God signed my name.

2. Sealed. Once we have accepted Jesus and follow him we cannot be snatched out of his hand. There is an invisible seal on your forehead that lets the devil know, “you can’t touch this one!” the Jewish people wore phylacteries on their foreheads to symbolize that God’s word is written on their foreheads, that means it is on the forefront of their minds. Exodus 13:9. As Christians we anoint the foreheads with oil as a sign of God’s presence on the lives of people. We are sealed by the blood of the lamb.

3. Delivered. When we are signed and sealed the promise is that we will be delivered when God unleashes his wrath during the great tribulation and judgment. The only reason some of us are still alive is because we’ve been signed, sealed, and delivered by Jesus.

Dear God,
I thank you for signing my name in the Book of Life. Even though I’ve done some foolish things I’m still yours. Your love and the blood of Jesus purchased me. Your grace has sealed me for the Day of Judgment. On that day I will be delivered because of your great love for me. Not just for me but for all of those who give their lives to you to be delivered on that great day. Here I am Lord, Signed, Sealed, and delivered…I’m yours!

In Jesus Name,

Monday, December 27, 2010

Don't Stay Down!

Revelation 2:5
Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

Shaun White, gold medalist in snowboarding is a skating phenomenon. Whenever you hear his name you are expecting him to win. You don’t think about a great snowboarder like him falling. You always envision some incredible flip or turn. He doesn’t even look human. This red head wonder is just as rare as the gene that makes him red-headed. In an interview, Shaun White admits that he has fallen from great heights but not many times. He said, he fell once right before his gold medal attempt. “I got back up and smiled and said to myself, “good I got that over with now let’s go for the gold." The bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. There’s not one person who didn’t fall short this year. The problem is not falling, the problem is falling and realizing how far you’ve fallen.

Life can get so busy and we can move so fast that we don’t realize how far we have fallen from where we were. This is the time of the year where we can soberly look back and see how far we’ve fallen from our ideal place in God.

The reason we look back is not to torture ourselves but to make adjustments so you can go for the gold and not all for the same thing in the New Year. We can’t afford to stay down. There is too much greatness in each and every one of us. You don’t want to die not having reached your full potential. If you have fallen this year here’s what you need to do:

1. Repent. a. be sorry: to recognize the wrong in something you have done and be sorry about it.

1. b. change ways: to feel regret about a sin or past actions and change your ways or habits.

Feeling bad about a fall is only half of repentance. Changing your ways is the second part to your recovery.

2. Do the things you did at first. What things are you talking about? Why would I repeat what made me fall? Not those things! Do the things that got you to the top before you fell? i.e. praying, fasting, studying, exercise, practice, serving, giving, praise & worship, fellowship. Whatever spiritual disciplines had you shining and flying return back to those things.

3. Don’t lose your light. If you do not repent Jesus will have to take your anointing and give it to somebody else. Verse 5 If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

Dear God, I’m ready to get back up. I’m repenting and returning back to you. I know from where I’ve fallen and I’m determined to do the things I did when I first received you. Take me back, take me back, Dear Lord, to the place where I first received you and restore the Joy of my salvation.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Seeing Is Not Believing

John 20:29
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

So many times we’ve heard people say, “You got to see it to believe it.” Often it is something so incredible that we’ve got to actually see it before we can mentally consent to the actuality of the occurrence. Many economists say the recession is lifting. Companies are reporting profits for the first time in three years, but for many people who are still unemployed they are not so quick to co-sign to this optimism because they have to see it before they can believe it.

There is a spiritual dimension to this as well. God is a present help in the time of trouble ready to open the floodgates at anytime. Jesus is alive and ready to operate in our daily affairs, but you have to believe it before you see it. For God so loved the world that he sent his only son, that whosoever would believe in him will not perish but have everlasting life. The key to our survival and our everlasting life is the ability to believe over seeing. We walk by faith and not by sight.

Many of us are like the disciple Thomas a.k.a. “doubting Thomas.” We have had fellowship with Jesus. We’ve seen him work miracles. We believe he existed. We also know about his death. The challenge is believing that he’s still alive after his death. Christmas is easier than Easter. I think it’s easier to wrap our minds around a virgin birth than a resurrection from the dead but both of them require us to believe without seeing. Thomas, one of the disciples, when he heard that Jesus was alive didn’t believe it. He said, “I will not believe it until I have physical proof.” We all struggle with our faith from time to time and Jesus will show up to meet us where we are. He comes though locked doors. Sometimes, he will even come through closed minds. The first thing he does is:

1. Give you peace. Jesus said, “Peace be unto you.” Prior to coming in on “doubting Thomas” Jesus had come in and breathed the Holy Spirit on the Disciples. It’s the Holy Spirit that gives us peace and reminds us of the things that Jesus taught the disciples when he was with them physically. The Holy Spirit is God’s presence within us.

2. Give you his hand. He gave Thomas his hand to touch the nail print. Jesus still gives us his hand to guide us in the right direction. God provides us with pastors and teachers to be our guides.

3. Let you reach inside. He told Thomas to put his hand inside his side. When we get involved in ministry helping the poor, widows and orphans; the least of these; it’s like putting our hands into the gaping wounds of Jesus. You can’t feel him if you are not involved in ministry. You got to get your hands dirty.

4. Stop doubting and believe. We’ve got to believe it before we see it. Arrest those seeds of doubt and replace them with faith. It is impossible to please God without faith.

Thomas believed after he saw and touched Jesus. Jesus said, "Because you’ve seen me you’ve believed, blessed are those who have not seen and have yet believed. I’m a “yet” believer. It hasn’t happened YET but I believe. I haven’t seen it YET but I still believe!

Dear God I can’t see it but I believe you will come through. It doesn’t feel like the recession is lifting but I believe you are a heavy load lifter. God, I thank you for blessing us and for coming through just when we needed you the most.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

When Your Life Was Low

Always remember my friend,
The world will change again.
And you may have to come back
Through everywhere you've been.

When your life was low,
You had nowhere to go.
People turned their backs on you,
And everybody said that you were through.

I took you in, made you strong again
Put you back together.
Out of all the dreams you left along the way,
You left me shining.

Now you're doing well
From stories I hear tell.
You own the world again.
Everyone's your friend.

Although I never hear from you,
Still it's nice to know
You used to love me so,
When your life was low.

I took you in. I made you strong again.
I put you back together.
Out of all the dreams you left along the way,
You left me shining

Now you're doing well
From stories I hear tell.
You own the world again.
Everyone's your friend.

Although I never hear from you,
Still it's nice to know
You used to love me so,
You used to love me so,
When your life was low.

But always remember my friend,
The world will change again.
And you may have to come back
Through everywhere you've been.
The world will change again.



Do You Follow Jesus

John 10:27
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Twitter is the leading social network next to facebook. Millions of people get a chance to follow some of their favorite celebrities, athletes, and leaders. They are able to get great quotes, nuggets of wisdom day to day and line by line, even minute by minute uploads of the lives of the people they follow. It’s almost like you are invited into their worlds to walk with them. People like Lebron James “King James” have over a million followers, Aston Kutcher challenged CNN to get more followers, he won. If Jesus had a twitter page, how many followers would he have? He would probably have over a million as well because being a follower on Twitter is often quite passive. All you have to do is read the person tweet that you follow. You can re-tweet, and you can attempt to direct tweet if they are following you.
Following Jesus in real life is different from being a follower on Twitter. If you follow Jesus in real life:

1. You listen to his voice.

2. He knows you. It’s not some one-sided admiration. There is a mutual acknowledgement, no matter how many followers he has. He knows every single one of us and replies to twitter & direct messages. He knows when you re-tweet his messages, but loves when you repeat his life more.

3. They follow me. His followers actually live out what he does and go where he went.

4. They have eternal life.

5. They will never perish.

6. No one can switch them and block them from following.

Dear Jesus, thank you for letting me follow you. I appreciate when I tweet you and you always respond. It’s also neat that when I call you, you’re always there. The best part is that out of all the followers you have, you still know me. I will follow you til' the day I die and then I will follow you again.

In Jesus name,

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's Your Turn But Not Your Time

John 7:6
Therefore Jesus told them, “the right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right.

Every child wants to go first in whatever they play. It’s amusing to see my seven year-old's team jostling for position for every drill in practice. ‘We talking about practice (my Allen Iverson voice).’ They are jumping in front of each other, pushing to go first. The coach has to remind them that everybody is going to get their turn it’s just a matter of time.

It doesn’t change much once we become adults we just know how to hide it better. We still push or politic our way to the front. We self-promote and manipulate our way up front but what we need to realize is that in life we are all going to get our turn when it's our time. Be anxious for nothing but be ready; for you know not the time nor the hour. Success comes when preparation meets opportunity. While we are waiting for our turn and our time we should be studying to show ourselves approved. We should be doing what God told us to do so that when it’s our time he will find us faithful. Whatever we do we should be doing it as for God and not for men. It might be your turn but is it your time?

Jesus was prepared but he would not be pushed into a premature place. His brothers wanted him to make a public appearance during the feast of tabernacles. Jesus purposely stayed away because the Jews wanted to take his life. His brothers, ignoring the threat, were more focused on the fame. They told him, “No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things show yourself to the world.”

In this Youtube world we live in, everyone wants to show themselves to the world before they have anything to show. “Look at me, I’m not ready but I want you to see me.” Not so with Jesus. He was prepared and he was ready but it wasn’t his time. Jesus told his brothers, “The right time for me has not yet come, for you any time is right.” You can’t let anybody talk you into doing something when God has not released you. There is a time and a season for everything.

How do you know when it’s your time?

1. You don’t have to force it. When God is in something he makes a way for it to happen in your life. You don’t have to invite yourself anywhere. One of the wisest things my pastor Quinton Yates told me was, “never ask anybody to preach. If it’s meant for you to come they will invite you.”

2. You don’t have to manipulate it. You don’t have to steal your blessing like Jacob did. What God has for you it is for you.

3. The resources will be produced. When it came time for Jesus to fulfill his destiny he told his disciples that they would find a colt that has never been ridden before tied up. “If anybody asks you why you are untying it, tell them the Lord has need of it.” What’s amazing is that when they found it nobody argued with them because it was his time.

4. You will have peace about it. You just know that you know that you know when it’s your time. God will give you an innate sense about it.

5. God will open up the doors. There are some opportunities that you couldn’t have generated on your own that you will know without a shadow of a doubt that God did it.

Dear God, thank you for ordering my steps. You know my end from my beginning. I trust you to show me when it’s my turn and my time. I am non-anxiously awaiting my turn and listening for you to tell me when it’s my time.

Thank you Jesus,

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How To SIlence Your Haters

I Peter 2:15
For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.

When Lebron James went back to Cleveland to play against his former team, he faced a very hostile arena. People shouted every mean obscene thing you could imagine along with signs, t-shirts, and nasty chants. One could argue that Lebron deserved some of this hostility because of how he made his announcement of departure but then on the other side of the coin you could argue that he had the right to leave as a free agent. For Seven years, this young man gave his best to his hometown but now “a player has no honor in his own hometown.” ‘Akron Hates You!’

Lebron never got visibly upset or said anything bad about the people of Cleveland but he silenced the crowd. He silenced his haters with his exceptional play and team victory in a convincing win. I’m sure he was hurt but he let his actions speak for his character. He played with dignity and won with dignity. His haters were silent.

Whenever you are out front people will always have something to say about what you do. Being a Christian automatically guarantees you will be hated on. Many of us have to work in hostile environments with people who hope we fail. It comes with the territory. Jesus said, “If they hated me they will hate you also.” No matter what they say there is a way you can silence your haters:

1. Do good..By being morally correct. I Peter 2:12
2. Do helping other people. I Peter 4:10
3. Do good by being successful in your field. Matthew 14:5
4. Do good by not returning evil for evil. I Peter 3:9
5. Do good by being nice to your haters Proverbs 25:21-22

Dear God, thank you for silencing my enemies with Kingdom success. Today, let my work speak for me. I will not waste energy on negative people, instead, I will do something positive to silence my haters. Thank you for making a banquet table in the presence of all my enemies. I give you all the Glory today and thank you for your peace and favor that rest on me.

In Jesus Name

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I'm Joyful About My Trouble

James 1:2
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds

Joyful, Joyful we adore thee, God of Glory, lord of love;

Hearts unfold like flowers before thee, opening to the sun above

Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark doubt away

When we think of Joy we think of the radiance of God’s Glory and the feeling of exuberance because of the good things that accompany God’s presence in your life. We think of the bliss of a loved one that brings a smile to our face like Anita Baker felt when she sang “you bring me Joy when I’m down.” But who thinks of Joy when you are going through trials and tribulations? Who has a smile on their face when they are going through hard times?! We should! Why?

As believers in Jesus Christ we can have Joy in a season of recession because we know there’s purpose in our tests. There is something God is trying to accomplish through my trials that I can be joyful in advance about.

When it seems like you have trials on every hand it simply means that God is up to something.

Count it all joy because:

1. The testing of your faith develops perseverance. It is the ability to endure. When an athlete trains they put their body through all kinds of tests so that they may be able to endure when it’s regular season. If you've never been through any tests you won’t be able to preservere when it’s your season. The testing of your faith means God is getting you ready for a new season.

2. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature. God’s got to grow us up. In order for a baby eagle to grow and fly the mother eagle puts thorns in the nest to make the baby uncomfortable so they will leave the nest and fly high. If it’s uncomfortable in your life right now count it all Joy because God is getting ready to give you Eagle wings to fly higher than you have before!

3. Perseverance must finish its work so you can be complete. There are aspects of our personalities that God has to work on and most of the time when we are going through tests it's because we haven’t passed them yet. God needs to complete what’s missing in our personality through this test.

4. Perseverance must finish its work so you will not lack anything. In other words, God’s teaching us to find peace in the middle of our storm. The word Shalom means, "nothing missing, noting broken.” At the end of what we are going through is Peace which surpasses all human understanding.
Count it all Joy!

Dear God, thank you for my trials, for they have come to make me stronger. I’m joyful this season because Jesus is working on me. I’m becoming more mature day by day. He’s perfecting me through my trials and I shall come forth as pure gold!

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stay Free

Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you.”

Didn’t it all used to be so simple then? You remember back in the day when you were young, but we’re not kids anymore but sometimes I wish I was a kid again. We were so carefree! Playing outside, making tents in the house with a blanket and two kitchen chairs, eating hot chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven, and no worries in the world. As a child, we were free to be children because of the provision and protection of our parents. Now little hands and mouths are dependent upon us to afford them the freedom to just be children.

Even as we grow older there is a need for us to retain our child-like freedom. There is a way to hold to the wonder and amazement even as we handle the responsibilities of being older.

1. Keep your lives Free from the love of money. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. The love of money is at the root of this recession. It was the greed of Wall Street and big banks that caused little people to borrow more than they could pay back. Money is not evil it’s the love of money that is. Money is a tool for us to live and bless others. A better translation is, “the lust of money is the root of all evil." One of the things I remember as a child is that we didn’t have a lot of money but we had a lot of Love. If you have Love you can still have a good Christmas because Christmas is about celebrating the fact that God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.

2. Be content with what you have. How many shirts can you wear at one time? How many pair of shoes can you wear at one time? Some of us have so much already that we would be embarrassed if you could travel to some impoverished home where families are living with no running water or electricity in the 21st century. We have so much to thank God for. WE are blessed. Take time to thank God for what you already have and share with others who have nothing.

3. Take comfort in knowing that God said, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” As bad as it seems the good news is that God is still here.
It reminds me of a little girl who was waiting after school for her daddy to pick her up. All the school buses had left the parking lot, and now the administration was leaving. It started raining and the little girl just stood there. One last teacher was leaving and saw the little girl. She offered to give her a ride but the little girl refused and said, “my Daddy said he would pick me up, I’ll wait.” There was no panic in her eyes. The little girl was just as content as if the sun was shining. The teacher was not going to leave until the Father arrived. The daddy pulled up an apologized to the teacher and the little girl. There had been a wreck on the interstate. The little girl wet but happy looked at her daddy and said, “It’s okay Daddy, I knew you would never leave me.”

The Holy Ghost our teacher will not leave us comfortless until the Father arrives to pick us us. Be content with what you have until your Daddy shows up. He’s on the way.

Dear God,
Thank you for not leaving me in this storm. It hasn’t been easy but thank God I’m still free! Sometimes, the heaviness of responsibility feels like stinging rain but your grace is shelter in the time of storm. Whatever state I’m in I’m learning to be content and it is well with my soul.

Thank you Father!

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, December 9, 2010

They Got To Go!

Titus 3:10
Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.

I’ve seen some great players traded, suspended, and released because they became a distraction to the team. Whenever one person’s behavior or agenda threatens the teams chemistry that person, no matter how gifted has to go.

Even Jesus had to check one of his prime time players, a disciple named Peter. Jesus’ mission was to bring in the Kingdom of God and save many lives through his death on the cross. He would constantly remind his team (disciples) of his mission and why he was sent by God but one day Peter decided to voice what he had always been thinking, “this ain’t gonna happen!” Now Peter meant well but he was in his flesh and spoke emotionally charged words that threatened to divide the team. Jesus had to put him in check real quick by saying, “Get behind me Satan for you want the things of men and not the things of God.” Peter loved Jesus more than anybody, he was very zealous, he was faithful, but he became divisive. Jesus didn’t cut him from the team but he warned him and called out the spirit of division acting through Peter. Satan’s role is to steal, kill and destroy. His best method is division with gossip, arguments and hidden agendas.

Peter was warned and got back in his rightful place. When we run into divisive people we have to warn them that divisive people cannot remain on your team. After the second warning that person needs to be released from your team no matter how gifted or talented. John Maxwell in the Law of the Bad Apple says, “Everybody on your team knows who the bad apple is, they are just waiting on you to do something about it.” The longer you wait the more credibility you lose with your team. If you don’t release the divisive one from the team, the team will release you as the leader, either physically or emotionally.

1. If your brother or sister sins against you go to them one on one. Matthew 8:15
2. If they don’t listen to you. Take one other person with you. Matthew 8:15
3. If they don’t listen to either one of you tell it to the church. Matthew 18:17
4. If they don’t listen to anybody then you have to let them go. Matthew 18:17

Dear God, give me the discernment to recognize divisive people and to give them proper warning. I know you are a God of reconciliation and a God of release. Help me to know when to do one or the other. More than anything don’t let me be divisive by being a gossip, partisan or petty but as much as it depends on me let me live in Peace with all men and be a team player.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

We Need The Gym & The Church?!

I Timothy 4:8
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Pretty soon the Gym will be crowded again. After the over-indulgence through the Holidays people will try to get back on track with their bodies and their diets. I always have a silent laugh to myself as I see all kinds of people that I haven’t seen all year trying to shed those unwanted pounds from months of neglect. Don’t get me wrong it's good for them to be there but know this, it’s going to take more than a month to get your body into shape and it's going to take more than the gym. It’s going to also take the church.

Paul said that physical training is of some value but godliness has value for all things. Jesus said, “I have come that you might experience Ife and life more abundantly. The word life in Greek is translated ZOE which means one who is possessed of vitality or animate. This vital and animated life is both physical and spiritual which is a combination of a spiritually grounded life housed in a healthy body. The majority of physical activity is managed by mental and spiritual will. You will hear many athletes say that 90% of their sport is mental; meaning that if they can ever master the spirit, the will, and the discipline then the physical part is easy. Look at Tiger Woods, one of the most skilled golfers in the world. His struggle right now is not in the physical, his struggle is emotional and spiritual. Once he centers himself in the Spirit then you will see a new and improved Tiger. Look at Michael Vick. You can arguably say that he is playing his best football ever because of the conditioning of the Spirit and a spiritual coach in the person of Tony Dungy. That’s why the apostle Paul said I beat my body to bring it into submission. You are fully alive when you are able to combine the gym(physical conditioning) and the church (spiritual conditioning).

1. Get in some cardio 3 X a week. I Cor. 9:24
2. Get into some weight training Hebrews 12:1
3. Take some boxing lessons or sparring class. I Cor 9:26-27
4. Study the word of God as a workout. 2 Timothy 2:15
5. Focus on four areas in your conditioning of your total person. Mark 12:30-31

Dear God, I’m ready to get into shape, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This coming year I’m staying in the gym and in the church every week so I can be fit for the King and the kingdom. I pray that my diet will allow me to look ten times better than everybody around me like Daniel and his three friends. Get me in shape Jesus as I get ready to live like nobody else so I can live like nobody else. Thank you for life and Life more abundantly!

In Jesus Name

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Do You Have Any Clothes On?

Col 3:12
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Whenever it’s time to go I always have to remind my boys to put their clothes on ahead of time. Daddy’s ready to go and they are still running around half-dressed. Especially now that it’s cold outside I have to remind them to be fully clothed or else they will get sick.

We are living in a cold world where our Father has to remind us early to be dressed so we can go out in the world and represent him. We can’t go out into this cold and indifferent world half dressed because we will catch the coldness of a world that seems to be devoid of human compassion and Godly love.

There are some clothes we need to make sure that we put on as God’s chosen people before we go outside:

1. Compassion. This is the ability to see people hurt or in need and we actually are moved to help them. Compassion comes from having spent time with God and we see people the way God sees them.

2. Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. When people meet you are they meeting a friendly person or a grumpy person? What’s behind that smile, sincerity or sarcasm?

3. Humility is having a low view of one’s importance. It’s like being an Undercover Boss 24 hours a day. Even though your gifts and experience are greater you still act like it’s your first day on the job. You are humble and eager to help.

4.Gentleness. Is when you are mild in temperament or behavior. Gentleness is exerting enough pressure to where you are helping without hurting.

5. Patient. This means to be slow to anger. It’s the ability to wait without becoming annoyed.

Before you leave the house, go to work or walk in class make sure you have your clothes on; all of them.

Dear God, thank you for clothing me in Righteousness. I pray that I would warm up the room instead of adding to its coldness or being overcome by others frigidness. I choose to put on the full armor and to make sure it’s all tied up with Love. If I am lacking any clothing please cover me and stitch up any hole in my personality. Thank you for clothing me and covering me today.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Secret of Contentment

Philippians 4:12
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

One thing has remained constant through the years, the inconsistency of the economy. The economy has risen and fallen. We have experienced recession and depression, surplus and prosperity. We’ve seen extremely rich people and extremely poor people but it’s the people in the middle who have learned how to survive and live between both extremes. There is a balance in life that must be obtained in order that you might not be overwhelmed by the changing of the tides. It is the secret of contentment. Contentment is an ease of mind, willingness to accept circumstances as they develop. Contentment isn’t a matter with being content with our situation in life and never trying to improve it. It’s a matter of being content with what you have.

If we look around us right now we have so much to be thankful for; a roof over our heads, food to eat and clothes on our backs. We have a reasonable portion of health and strength, if we are still alive. I heard someone say the other day that the new definition of rich is having a job and being able to pay your bills. American’s are being forced to learn contentment.

This Christmas don’t worry about purchasing a bunch of material things for presents. Instead, focus on the presence of Christ and being present with your loved ones. What Jesus did by dying on the tree is more important than what we can put under the tree. I’m content knowing that the blood of Jesus covers me and my family. That is the greatest gift ever.

If you're old enough you’ve already lived through hard times before or at least read about people who have. If God did it before he can surely bring us through it again. Whatever state I’m in, I’m going to be content because I’m confident that my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus, whether well fed or hungry whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Dear God, thank you for keeping us thorough this recession. It has been tough but the peace of mind you’ve given me has kept me through all of my circumstances. I pray for those who are anxious about their needs that you would supply all their needs. Give us the secret of contentment to make it through this season of lack until we can get to the season of plenty. I thank you for what I do have: my life, my health, my family. I thank you that I’m in my right mind! I’m alive! Thank you Lord for seeing me through and today I’m going to be content knowing you will supply all my needs.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices Holy and pleasing to god—this is your spiritual act of worship.

When I think about daily sacrifices I think about professional athletes who do not have the luxury of being lazy, sleep in late, eat a bunch of junk and get addicted to alcohol/drugs and still be effective. For the most part, professional athletes sacrifice pleasures for peak performance. They do it for a prize or a paycheck. As Christians we do it for a prize that will not perish, eternal life.

There are some things we could do but we choose to cut out as a sacrifice so that we can be more effective as a Spiritual Warrior. No soldier gets entangled in Civilian affairs. Everyday, as believers, we are supposed to report for duty by offering our bodies as living sacrifices.

How do we present our bodies as living sacrifices?

1. Avoid all appearances of evil.

2. If it causes someone else to be offended don’t do it. I Corinthians 10: 31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

3. Love those who don’t like you. Matthew 5:44But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

4. Cast aside every weight that would easily entangle you. Hebrews 12

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

5.Pray “not my will but your will be done.”

6.Change your diet. When you want to achieve maximum results you have to change what you’re taking in. In working out, you can do all the physical exercise you want but if your diet is bad you will still be overweight.

7. If it is in your power to help someone do it. James 2:15-17 (New International Version, ©2010)

15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Dear God, I present myself to you as a livng sacrifice. Its not about me, its about you getting Glory out of my life. It's not about my convenience it's about your Kingdom. It's not about what pleasures me it's about my purpose. I refuse to waste my life on me when I know it's bigger than me. I present my body as a livng sacrifice.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Desire Mercy

Matthew 12:7
If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy not sacrifice.’ You would not have condemned the innocent.

Why is it that we want justice for others but mercy for ourselves? It’s so easy to wish wrath on others when there is a perceived offense without backing up to see if mercy is needed. I’m glad God is not like man because if he was we would all be dead by now. Justice demanded that I would die, but Mercy said, “No!”

Jesus had to teach this to the Pharisees when they were criticizing his disciples for picking grain on the Sabbath because they were hungry. The disciples of Jesus had offended the religious Pharisees because they broke the rules but Jesus knew his disciples through relationship. He knew they weren’t bad men they were just hungry. There hearts were right they were just hungry on the Sabbath. We are so quick to condemn people without knowing where their hearts are. More than getting the rules right God wants our hearts right.

It doesn’t mean that we disregard the rules but it does mean that we put mercy before sacrifice. If we get all the rules right but don’t have any love and compassion to go along with it then we are just mean religious people who are good at making sacrifices but poor in building relationships. In this life people are going to miss it every now and then and you have to show mercy before you condemn them. The next time someone offends you do the following:

Get al the facts before you jump to conclusions. What were they hungry for? What’s missing in their lives that they felt like they had to break the rules?
Find out where their heart and mind are. When a person messes up doesn’t mean that they don’t love Jesus. Peter loved Jesus more than anybody but still denied him at a crucial time. Jesus saw he had the right heart but didn’t do the right thing. He loved him back to life.

Treat others as though you were the one who committed the offense. How would you want to be treated if it were you?

Dear God, forgive me for being heavy on Justice and light on mercy. Forgive me for being a repeat offender. I am in need of mercy. Help me to live my life so that I neither offend or condemn but Love.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Good Grief!

2 Cor 7:9
Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so we're not harmed in any way by us.

Have you ever gotten that letter? You know that letter where somebody that loves you or tells you about yourself. I remember my mother writing me “that letter” in college reminding me that she didn’t raise me to be irresponsible, to make bad grades, or to forget God. I received that letter in the midst of partying and in a pursuit to be popular. That letter hurt me but it saved me.

Maybe I should have asked, “Have you gotten hat inbox or that direct tweet?” they usually come when people have something personal, private, or profound to say to someone they really care about. Every now and then we all need to write some sorrowful letters that lead to good grief.

We often try to avoid telling people the truth because we don’t’ want to hurt their feelings but you hurt them more by holding back on the truth. Grief can be good.

Paul wrote the church in Corinth a letter rebuking their behavior. At first he regretted it. Have you ever sent an email that you felt bad after you hit send? Maybe as a practice you should wait one hour before you send it but by all means send it.

Paul said he regretted it at first but now he’s happy because of their grief. Huh? The reason he’s happy is because of good grief. 2 Cor. 7:10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
When you share your heart it should lead the other person to repentance if they have a teachable spirit. Godly sorrow leads to life not death. When you communicate with people you love it’s to save their lives even at first it hurts their feelings.
The truth hurts but also sets you free.

Dear God, thank you for good grief. Give me the courage to share my heart with the people I care about even if it causes them to experience sorrow, for Godly sorrow leads to repentance. Thank you for those that loved me enough to tell me the truth about myself. I give you praise for good grief.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet!

2 Corinthians 4:18
So fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

It’s easy to get caught up in what you see around you. Especially when you are in the midst of a storm; you can get so caught up into what’s going wrong that you can’t focus on what’s going right in your life. Sometimes, we focus on the 10% wrong and it feels like 90%, but the reality is that 90% is good and you only have 10% that’s troubling you.

There is a greater reality behind what it is we are going through. God is at work in your circumstances. Romans 8:28 All things work for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose. We can’t afford to lose heart when things are not going our way because God is still moving even when you can’t see it. What you are looking at is not all there is to see, in fact I would dare say, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Paul was encouraging the church in Corinth through their persecutions to keep the faith. Paul in essence said to them, ‘it ain’t what it looks like.’

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (New International Version)

8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

The things we are going through are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs everything we are going through. The word “Glory” means the weight of God’s presence. The future Glory that your trouble is producing outweighs the stuff you are dealing with. When you are going through hardship that means you’re achieving. Something is taking place in the spiritual while you’re going through in the natural.

When Jacob was wrestling with God he told God , “I’m not letting go until you bless me.” The word “bless” means a transfer of strength. In other words, Jacob saw his blessing in his struggle and told God I can’t let you go until you transfer what my trouble has been achieving. When you are going through hardship it’s like making a deposit in heavens bank account and pretty soon you are going to be able to make a transfer. You ain’t seen nothing yet!

If you faint not you will receive a crown of righteousness. If you don’t give up you will receive houses, land, and family in this life and in the life to come.

In order to see it you have to see it before you see it or you never will see it. You must fix your eyes on what is not seen. This is called faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. We walk by faith and not by sight.

1. Focus on the vision God gives you. Your vision supersedes what you are seeing
right now.
2. Remind yourself of God’s promises in Scripture. Read your bible daily.
3. Meditate on what’s going good instead of what’s going bad.

Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things

Dear God show me what you are doing beyond what I see right now. Change my perspective so I can see where I’m going. Thank you for helping me achieve greatness through the struggle of what I’m going through. Thank you for opening my eyes.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, November 15, 2010

Can You Smell Me?

2 Corinthians 2:16
To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task.

I believe it was a speed stick commercial with Charles Barkley back in the day that said, “The greatest defense is not to offend.” It was a deodorant commercial about not offending people with bad underarm odor.

This past week we were in the Holy Land touring the old city. We had been walking all day and went into a crowded marketplace out into the Western wall to pray. As we were assembling ourselves to pray a man with very strong underarms walked past carrying a very pungent breeze in his trail. He passed between my wife and another woman. The woman’s eyes got big as her nostrils were insulted with the strong odor; she lifted her arms to smell herself. My wife caught eyes with her and laughed. She told the woman, “don’t worry it’s not you, I just smelled the same thing, it was somebody else who just passed by.”

Can you smell yourself? Take a whiff right now. How do you smell? Better yet how do you smell to other people? We are all giving off some type of fragrance or aroma. As Christians we are to be giving off the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ but even when we do we either smell like death or life.

To the person that is being saved we are the fragrance of life. That means people who have a teachable spirit welcome our scent, the smell of God on us. Our words and actions give off a scent. When people are open to God they can smell him on you if you have been in fellowship with God.

To the person that is perishing and they are in love with their own thoughts, we smell like death. In certain eastern cultures it’s offensive to smell good. They value the smell of natural body odors and pheromones that come as a result of not wearing deodorant. They think we stink! It’s the same in America in the spirit. There are people in the world who are offended by the gospel of Jesus Christ because they love the smell of sin more than they do the smell of a cleaned up life. The cross is foolishness for those that are perishing.

Our goal is to defend the faith without offending people. You can’t help when you speak truth in love and people still turn up their noses in disgust. But you can make sure there are no flies in your perfume. Ecclesiastes 10:1 As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor. You can’t mix folly with wisdom and not stink up the place. James 3:10-11 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers this should not be. When we speak to others they should be able to smell God on us.

1. Make sure you consecrate yourselves every morning with prayer, devotion, and
meditation. Psalm 19:14
2. Be a good example in your speech and conduct. Titus 2:7-8
3. Whatever you do, do it for Jesus and you will fill the room with a good
fragrance. John 12:3

Dear God, I pray that my life is a pleasing aroma in your nostrils. Help me to live my life in such a way that I am a fragrance of life to those that are perishing. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you Oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Who's Rolling the Stone?

Mark 16:3-4
Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb? But when they looked up. They saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.

There are issues in our life that are so massive that there appears to be no way for us to move them. We can’t seem to get closure on some issues because of the large obstacle that stands between you and the solution to your problem. If Jesus is on the other side of your dilemma you better believe that God is going to send somebody to roll the stone away no matter how large it is.

When Jesus was crucified and buried in a borrowed tomb, Mary and Mary came to the tomb to anoint his body but on the way there they were trying to figure out how they were going to roll the stone away. What’s remarkable is their courage and faith to even go back after the trauma of seeing Jesus executed. Everybody else was still hiding out of fear but out of love they came to anoint the body of Jesus. They still thought he was dead but out of love they came to bring closure by preparing him for a proper burial. Even when it looks like it’s over real disciples will still show up finish what they started.

When God sees your love, courage, and faith for Jesus and when you are outnumbered with limited resources he will send somebody to roll the stone away. This morning know that while you are trying to figure it out that God is already working it out.

There was a young man that was farming for his father. He was trying to move a large stone in the garden all day. His father came up and asked the young man, “Are you using all your strength?” The young man covered in sweat and dirt looked at his father exasperated and responded, “Yes sir!” The Father said, “No you’re not, you didn’t ask me for help.” Today Ask the Father to help you roll the stone away.

Dear God, send your angels to roll the stone away. We’ve made preparation to give Jesus our best now we need you Lord to do the rest. Please dear God roll the stone away, roll away the debt, roll away unemployment, roll away opposition and let us encounter the risen savior on the other side of what appears to be a dead end. Thank you for rolling my stone away.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

For the Sake of the Elect

Matthew 13:20
If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them.

Watching the election this year was the exact opposite of watching the elections of 2008. It was like watching the darkening of the sky right before the storm. John King of CNN said the majority of the people who voted, voted against a policy or a person. Rick Warren tweeted, “there were no black senators elected, that’s not right.” Senior Citizens came out in record numbers, young people stayed home and Republicans have control of the House. So it looks like two more years of stalemates, progression blocked, and a handcuffed President. That’s what it looks like, But God!

I was watching the election and getting disappointed but God is watching the elect ever mindful of his children. The elect are the Chosen of God. Jesus spoke of the end of times when there would be wars, earthquakes, famines, ecological disasters, hard times for women with small children. The only saving grace would be God cutting short these days for the sake of the elect or nobody would survive.

We have some difficult days ahead of us, it may get worse before it gets better but the good news is God will step in at some point and cut this foolishness short for the sake of the elect.

God will not let innocent people be tortured for long by the political games of other people. For the sake of the elect he will cut short these days. God will not let poor people go without prescriptions and food because of the greediness of the rich for too long. For the sake of the elect he will cut short these days. God will not allow his seed to go begging for bread in the streets without shelter for too long. He will cut short these days for the sake of the elect or no one would survive, not republicans, not democrats, or Tea baggers.

It’s time to mobilize the grassroots again. We have got to mobilize, turn from our evil apathetic ways, humble ourselves and pray then God will hear from heaven and cut short these evil days and heal our land. The Republicans/Tea baggers won because they did more than complain. They mobilized. It's time to go back to the days of grassroot organization and social justice. We need to pray like everything depended on God and act like everything depends on us. The Election for this year is over but God is still watching over the Elect.

Dear God, now that the election is over the elect are in your hands. The people have voted through ballots and silence. Now we need you to speak. God rise from your throne and intercede for the homeless, intercede for those without healthcare, intercede for the unemployed, and even if the elected officials don’t cut short the suffering of your people I know you will cut short these days for the sake of the elect.

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Don't Block Your Blessing

Mark 11:25
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone forgive him, so that your father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

When we hold people hostage through unforgiveness it really keeps us captive. When someone offends us we can let it go or choose to hold on to the offense. In holding on it feels like we are winning by not letting the person off the hook but really we are blocking our blessing because God can’t release forgiveness for you, if you can’t forgive others.

Jesus reminded us of the importance of forgiveness when he asked the disciples, “how can you say you love God whom you’ve never seen and hate your brother you see every day?” When God sends us out to love our enemies, and to do good to those that hate you, what he’s telling us is, “Go do me!” you can’t be free until you learn how to forgive. Forgiveness isn’t about them, it’s about you! God wants to release something for you but you block your own blessing when you harbor resentment.

Did you know that harboring a known felon is against the law? When you allow a fugitive to stay in your house you are guilty of harboring a criminal. When you walk around holding grudges and offenses while acting like there is nothing going on in your heart you are a criminal. “But they hurt me!” Then why are you letting them hide in your heart jeopardizing your freedom?

When you release them, God releases you.

1. When you stand praying and you remember somebody you are angry with, forgive them. Oftentimes, the Holy Spirit will bring people to your mind that you are upset with and you need to call them by name and tell God that you forgive them. When possible you need to tell the person that you forgive them.

2. When you are giving and you remember something you’ve done to offend someone you need to go ask that person for forgiveness before you give God your offering. God is not going to accept what you give until you work on a need to forgive or be forgiven. Matthew 5:23-24

3. Don’t choke somebody after you’ve been released. Matthew 18:28-35 tells a story of a man who owed a million dollars in debt. The judge forgave him and released him from prison. On his way out he saw a man that owed him a hundred dollars. He beat the man up and started chocking him. The judge heard about it and had the man and his family thrown into prison until the debt was paid off. You don’t get released and turn around and choke people for a lesser offense.

Dear God,
I’m searching my heart this morning for people I’m holding hostage and people I’ve sinned against. I’m releasing my hostages through forgiveness and asking you to forgive me for anything I’ve done to offend anybody I don’t know of. Forgive me if I caused any of your little ones to stumble because of something I said or did. I want to be free so I choose to forgive and I’m asking for forgiveness. I choose not to hurt in retaliation. I choose to worship in spirit and in truth.

In Jesus Name

Monday, November 1, 2010

Overcoming Unbelief

Mark 9:24
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!”

With the advancement of technology, it's possible to be two places at the same time. You can be at home but be seen in Japan thanks to internet connections like Skype and Facetime. It’s amazing to be able to reach out to people that you normally wouldn’t be able to see. It’s also possible to be in two places at the same time in your mind. That is, to live with paradox. Two opposing thoughts caught in a tug of war between two paradigms. We walk around in a world with real challenges while at the same time in our mind we see the possibilities to overcome those obstacles. I dare say there is a third dimension called faith where our ways are not his ways but to access his ways we have to make a mental connection through our belief that is sometimes a shaky bridge to the other side of our dilemma. I believe but help me with my unbelief.

I know God can but the facts are so staggering that I just don’t know how to wrap my mind around divine possibilities. I believe but how do I overcome my unbelief?

1. You have to pray to God to strengthen your faith.

2. You have to practice your faith through your living and your giving. When you do what God tells you to do it’s strengthening your faith muscles. When you trust him in the little things then it becomes easier to trust him in the big things.

3. Reinforce your faith with positive affirmations and scripture memorization.

4. Some tough situations require that you fast and pray. Fasting shows God you are serious and it helps you focus in on the spiritual and not the physical.

5. Bring your Problem to Jesus and leave it there.

Dear God,
I do believe but help me overcome my unbelief. There have been times when I pulled back when I should have leaped. Times when I should have stood still and instead I moved too quickly. Times when I doubted after I prayed but I’m asking you to remove all doubt and give me the boldness of belief. I know that you are able to help me make the connection to faith knowing you can and you will. Today, I’m praying and believing you are able and my faith is renewed. Fix it Jesus like I know you can.

In your name I pray believing it is done.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Keep Your Conscience Clean

Acts 24:16
I strive always to keep my conscience clean before God and men.

As Parents, we stay on our children to keep their rooms clean. It’s nothing more embarassing than to have guests over and they walk into a dirty room and leave with the impression that you are a nasty housekeeper. My mother would always caution us with, “you never know when company might come over so keep this house clean!”

If we put as much effort into keeping our conscience clear as much as we do cleaning our rooms, life would be so much better. Our conscience is but one room in our psyche where we keep records of good and bad deeds we have done. When we live an unscrupulous life filled with compromise, we start accumulating old articles that make our room look like the worst house on “Hoarders.” It’s not enough to get rid of the stuff in the room or to clean the room. You have to make sure you don’t start hoarding stuff all over again. Hoarding starts with little stuff you think you can’t do without and before you know it you can’t move around your room because so much stuff is on the floor. The key after you clean it is to stop letting new stuff accumulate.

Paul says, “I strive to keep a clear conscience.” Why? Because Paul knew one day he would have guests. He believed that he would have to stand in judgment before God. He believed there would be a resurrection of the dead both the wicked and the righteous to stand before God. He believed one day he would have guests to visit the house of his soul and want access to that one room we don’t want anybody to see, the room of our conscience. It’s the room where we’ve stored all the sordid details of our hidden lives. The room where we’ve stored all the back room behavior we hope no one ever finds out about. One day, Jesus will walk through that room. In the meantime, the Holy Spirit walks through on a daily basis warning us to clean up before Jesus comes. Therefore, we should all strive to keep a clear conscience. How do we keep a clear conscience?

1. Don’t do anything in the dark that you wouldn’t want coming to the light.
2. Don’t tell lies, little or big. A lie is a lie.
3. Don’t whisper anything you wouldn’t want shouted from the roof tops.
4. Make sure your motives are pure.
5. Ask yourself, “if Jesus was here, would I be doing this?”

Dear God,
Give me a clean heart that I might serve you. Remove any junk from the room of my conscience and help me to keep it clean by making the right choices. Today, I’m keeping a clean conscience so when the Holy Spirit pays me a visit I will not be ashamed of my room.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, October 25, 2010

They Can't Understand

Acts 22:9
My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.

When God is speaking to you people around you can see the evidence but not necessarily understand what God is saying. What is important to remember is that it’s imperative that you understand the voice and shine your light for your friends to see. Don’t get concerned when they can’t understand the voice of God in your life just make sure you understand what God is saying. God will speak to you and even the closest people to you will not always understand what God is saying in your life. Make sure you hear God and that your light is not compromised.

When Jesus stopped Saul on the Damascus road he appeared as a blinding light as he asked Saul, “Why are you persecuting me?” Saul was terrorizing Christians because he was a Jew, a leading Pharisee. He was hunting down Christians to beat them and put them in prison for following Jesus. Imagine the confusion of his companions when he told them he was talking to Jesus. He was on his way to beat some Christians up and now he’s having a conversation with Jesus in the middle of the road.

Some of your friends don’t understand why you stopped in the middle of what you were doing to have conversation with Jesus. You were going one way and God sent you in a New Direction and people still can’t understand the voice. They can’t understand that you don’t want to go to the Juke Joint no more. They don’t understand why you won't have sex with them anymore. They don’t understand why you stopped spending all your money on them. God spoke and you stopped and they can’t understand the voice. You can’t wait for people to understand before you obey. I can show you better than I can tell you. Instead of trying to explain to people what he said, live your life in such a way that your light reflects the Glory of God in your life.

1. Get clarity on what God is saying in your life.
2. Walk on the street called straight.
3. Fast and pray so God can give you instruction for your New Direction.

Dear God,
Let my light shine bright as I am obedient to your voice. Whatever you tell me to do, I’ll do. Whatever you tell me to say, I’ll say it. Wherever you tell me to go, I’ll go. Just help me to understand your voice.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

He Kept on Knocking

Acts 12:16
But Peter kept on knocking and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.

There are so many people right now that seem to be locked up and locked out of opportunity. Last week, we had a job fair and over 1,500 people showed up looking for employment. We ran out of applications. Some of the people arrived an hour early because they were eager to find employment. Jesus told us to seek and we would find. Ask and it shall be given, knock and the door shall be opened. Sometimes, you have to keep on knocking.

Peter had miracously been delivered from prison because the church was praying for him. But sometimes when the church is praying for you they don’t believe it’s you when you show up knocking at the door of opportunity.

It has to be discouraging for men and women who’ve been delivered from prison only to get to the doors at the church, knock and the people there find your story too good to be true. So many people have served their time, made their mistakes, only to meet with disbelief after their rehabilitation. I was watching K-Ci and JoJo, Coming Clean when they went to meet with an old friend who was VP for Interscope. Their friend began to remind them of all the mistakes they made in the past without taking into account that they were attempting to come clean. K-Ci and JoJo have to remain clean and keep on knocking.

Rhoda the girl at the door told the people praying that it was Peter, the one they had been praying for was at the door. They said, “No that must be his ghost!” Which means that they really didn’t believe he’d be delivered and had already wrapped their minds around the possibilities of him dying.

You need to let people know, “I ain’t dead yet!” Show up and start knocking on the door when they don’t believe you, Keep on knocking!

That’s what Jesus had to do for us. He says in Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. “Keep Knocking.

Ways to keep knocking:

1. After you submit your resume follow back up with a call.
2. Stop by and see if there are any openings, go in, don’t just call.
3. There is one yes hidden somewhere behind a bunch of “no’s”
4. Be persistent until you breakthrough.
5. Keep knocking until you find the right door.

Dear God, give us perseverance to keep on knocking until the door of opportunity swings open. As long as there is breath in my body, I’m going to keep on knocking. Thank you for the open door and for giving me the strength to get past my adversaries. Now today I’m walking into my new season.

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

God Doesn't Show Favoritism

Acts 10:34-35
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.

The other day on “the View” Bill O’Reily categorically condemned all Muslims as terrorists and blamed them for the attacks on the World Trade Center. Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar stormed off the set in protest. Barbara Walters was upset with her colleagues for their unprofessional actions. She said, “We can disagree without being disrespectful. Joy and Whoopi are right to be upset but should have stayed on the couch and let Bill look ignorant on his own. Their outrage is understandable because this villinization of a group of people that is not monolithic has been the same kind of racist propaganda that has been used toward minorities and people of different faiths for years in America.

Sometimes conservative Christians feel they have the monopoly on God's favor and love, but God has used men and women of many faiths to inspire and change the world with people like Malcolm X (Muslim) who saw a connection between blacks, whites, Africans, and Asians toward the end of his life; Gandhi (Hindu) who inspired Dr. King with his non-violent protest, Dali Lama (Buddhist) and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Christian). All of these people had one thing in common, they did what was right and feared God by standing up for the powerless.

God has to show Peter who has been raised a conservative Jew that he is to be inclusive with the love of God and sharing the gospel with people outside his comfort zone. Jews believed that it was not lawful for Jews to socialize with Gentiles but God sends Peter to sit on the couch with Cornelius, a Gentile.

The prayers and the good Cornelius had done for the poor had come up as a memorial offering to God. Cornelius was not a Jew or a Christian but his prayers and gifts to the poor came up to God as a memorial offering. Could it be that some non-Christians reach God before us? It’s not that we are more righteous but God wants us as Christians to finish the story of God’s redemptive work in the earth through his Son, Jesus Christ. Before we can share with our non-Christian friends until we must realize that we are not the only ones with God’s favor. The sooner we realize that we are all God’s children, the sooner we can help people to understand our View.

Here’s how we share our view:

1. Share the couch with people who don’t have the same view as you. Instead of being combative learn how to listen to other people even if you don’t agree with them. Agree to disagree without being disagreeable.

2. Let God lead you to people who are open to receive. Cornelius prayed to God and helped the poor. When people have a good heart they are open to truth.

3. Step out of your tradition to share with people who don’t necessarily see it like you do but they have a good heart. You may be the person to introduce them to Jesus Christ. If you are Christ-like then you will imitate Him by talking to everybody.

4. Realize that we can learn from each other.

Dear God, enlarge my viewpoint so that I can truly see that you’re not a respecter of person but that you love all of your children. Thank you God that you don’t show favoritism based on titles, denominations or world views but you accept all people from every nation who fear you and do what is right. Show me today who you want me to share my faith with on today. I’m ready to share my couch with the right people so we can head in the right direction.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Live by Faith Not Fear

Job 3:25
What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.

One of the over arching themes in the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners was their faith. Groping around in the darkness without knowing if they would ever be found much less rescued, the men tried to encourage each other but they were also real, “we may get out and we may not. In fact, we might die.” In the meantime, they acted like they were going to get out by rationing out the food and praying. Seventeen days later, they heard a drill breaking through the surface. One man said, “I held on to God’s hand, the best hand. I had no doubt that God would bring me out.”

The men focused on getting out not dying. Whatever you focus on is what will manifests in your life. You have to imagine something good breaking through the surface no matter how long it takes. Just like the miners, Job was in a dark place. In this chapter, he’s regreting the day he was born because it seems like God has forgotten about him. He’s lost all ten of his children, he lost all of his flocks, his house, and now his health is failing him. When it’s dark in our lives and we can’t see the hand in front of our faces, it’s easy to feel like God is not there but you have to keep the faith that help is on the way.

How do we live by faith?

1. Speak those things that are not as though they were. When the world was dark and without form, God spoke, “Let there be Light!” and there was Light! Being made in the image of God we can speak Light into dark situations. Someone once said, “instead of cursing the darkness light a candle.” Your words are candles. You should speak life not death. When you find yourself in the dark it’s best to make sure you speak light and life.

2. Believe that all things are possible with God. The miners said we never stopped believing that we would be rescued. Believe you will get a job. Believe this recession will lift. Believe the war will be over. Believe you will get out. What is impossible with man is possible with God.

3. Pray in faith. He who prays must believe that God is able to do what he is asking God to do. James 1:6 (New International Version)

6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Dear God,

I’m ready to be rescued. I know it’s been dark for my brothers and sisters in America during this recession. It’s been dark for the people of Haiti with 1.5 million people still homeless living in tents but I pray that you would send relief and help us all to turn back to you and live by faith and not fear. I see myself in the future and it's brighter than it is right now. I see the American people with jobs and creating a greener planet. I see the Haitian’s with homes and better government. I see the war in Afghanistan over and our troops at home. I’m confident that you will bring us all out and we can celebrate our deliverance together.

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why Are You Standing Here?

Acts 1:11
Men of Galilee, they said, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.

Don’t you hate it when you are headed somewhere and you look up ahead only to see multiple break lights coming on and then your car stops behind a mile long procession. Its stand still traffic! I always try to find an alternative route because I’ve got somewhere to go.

Normally when you see somebody in standstill traffic smiling it’s because they have nowhere to go or they have time on their hands. But why do people who have some where to go and have options choose to just stand still looking around?

God has given us instructions through Jesus to go somewhere, “Go and make disciples, teaching them whatever I have taught you.” Instead of moving some post-modern disciples are just standing around wondering when things are going to change. When is the recession going to lift? When is Jesus coming back? “Sometimes, the church is content to stand around staring into the heavens but not doing anything on earth. Sometimes, we are so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.

Right before Jesus ascended back to heaven he gave instruction to his apostles (sent ones) to remain in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit. When he was taken up into the sky they just stood there. Two angels came and asked them, “Why are you standing here?” We don’t have time to stand around we need to:

1. Go to our upper room to pray v. 14
2. Go to our upper room to Study Scripture v. 15-16
3. Go to our upper room to choose leaders to replace those that have betrayed us. V. 21
4. Go to our upper room to receive the Holy Spirit, Chapter 3
5. Leave the upper room to go make disciples

Dear God, help me to keep on waiting. Build my momentum so I will not become stagnant. Empower me with your sprit so I can make disciples of others. Thank you for sending me. Now I’m ready to go!

In Jesus Name,

Monday, October 11, 2010

You're Looking In The Wrong Place

Luke 24:5
In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men (angels) said to them, “why do you look for the living amongst the dead?”

Many of us are on a search for meaning and purpose in life. In our search we travel many places looking for love, fulfillment, joy and satisfaction. Our search carries us to various places where we are sorely disappointed when we run into dead ends.

How many times have we gone searching for something only to get there and it not be there? It is an empty feeling to go through life never finding what it is we are looking for. Could it be that the reason we keep on ending up empty handed is because we are looking in all the wrong places?

On the third day of Jesus being in the grave the women went to the grave looking for Jesus body to embalm him but when they got there the tomb was empty. Two angels appeared with their appearance being like lightning. The women were so afraid that they bowed their faces to the ground. The Angels asked them a good question, “Why do you look for the living amongst the dead? That is a good question for us this morning, “why do we look for the living amongst the dead? Why do we try to find spouses in a night club? Why do we try to make careers out of illegal activities that lead to prison or death? Why do we try to sustain highs in places that lead to extreme lows? Why do we seek inspiration from toxic people? Why do you try to find spiritual vitality in dead tradition? Why do we seek the living amongst the dead?

1. They settled for a dead man because they didn’t have faith that Jesus was alive. It’s amazing what we settle for when we believe Jesus is dead. We don’t have to spice up dead men when we can run to a living Savior.

2. They lowered their expectation because of their trauma. When they saw Jesus beaten and crucified it left an indelible imprint upon their psyche that He would never get up after this. What have you gone through that seemed to beat all the hope out of you? No matter what it was you have to believe that God can still bring life out of death.

3. It felt natural to go there. Their tradition led them to a grave to embalm a dead man. Every now and then you have to go outside of what is customary to find new life.
The Good News is that the Angels met them in a dead place and told them that Jesus was not there He had risen. God will send Angels to your dead end and send you where you can find what you’ve been looking for...Stop looking for the living amongst the dead.

Dear God, send me in a New Direction this morning. I’m tired of looking for the living amongst the dead. Change my perspective so I can change where I look. Show me the risen Jesus so I can leave this dead place and these dead people. I’m ready for something that’s new and causes me to live in my Purpose.

In Jesus Name,


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Live in the Fast Lane

Ezra 8:21
I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for safe journey for us and our children, with all of our possessions.

We travel with little thought of just how dangerous the highways really are. The old folks were right when they said, “he kept me from dangers seen and unseen.” On Average 114 people die each day in car crashes in the United States. It’s important to drive defensively because you never know what mindset people are in on the highway. Put on your seat belt, stop texting while driving, and fast. Dad he say, “go fast?!” No. I said, “Fast!”

We should be traveling in the fast lane. There is a lane on the Highway that allows drivers who are slower to drive on the right so that drivers who are fast can pass them on the left. On a good day you can get where you are going quicker with less stops in the fast lane. Now you shouldn’t speed in the fast lane but you are allowed to go the speed limit while there are others who choose to do just the minimum. Every now and then you have to go around people who are just content to do the minimum especially when I have somewhere I need to be.

As Christians, God gives us a fast lane when we are traveling. Fasting is a way for us to ask God to give us a speed pass and a cover of protection. A speed pass is not a license to break the law but to go through toll booths without stopping. He also gives you angels to watch all around you to protect you from hurt, harm, and danger.

Ezra got in the fast lane when he was going back to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. He had the permission of the King to go back, he had resources to purchase the supplies, but he was afraid to ask for protection because he boasted to the king how God’s hand was with him in his work. So instead of going back asking the King for more resources he got in the fast lane and asked God for protection. Here’s how you get in the fast lane:

1. Proclaim a fast. Every so often we need to humble ourselves through fasting so that we can tune into God. Every now and then when you are driving on the highway they will give you a sign that says, tune in to a certain station for information on the highway. Fasting allows us to tune into heaven’s radio station to hear God’s instruction and get his protection.

2. Ask God for a safe journey for your family, co-workers, and your possessions. When you are specific about what you need for God he will give it to you in the fast lane. It’s something about humbling yourself and praying that God takes heed to.

3. God will protect you in the fast lane. Verse 31 says the hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way.

We should live our lives in the fast lane. Occasionally we should humble ourselves to see God’s protection and provision in a supernatural way. Instead of just jumping in our car assuming you will get there safe make sure you get in the fast lane. Slow down and Fast!

Dear God, help me to slow down and fast. I need your help to make it safely to my destination. I’ve got favor from the king; I just need your hand of protection so I can finish what you sent me to do. I’m traveling down the King’s Highway in the fast lane and I know you’ll get me through.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Are You Interested in Savings

Luke 19:23
Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?

I made a deal with my sons that for every “A” they made on their report cards they would get $10 and their mother said that she would match what I gave. Jordan got his report card first and made six “A’s!” Wow! I was proud of my son and opened up my wallet and felt like I was being held up. LOL. His eyes lit up when he got my money and his mother’s money. I told him it pays to get good grades. He counted all of his money and even had some stashed away from previous gifts and he asked me, “daddy can I open a savings account?” I said, “Yes.” He asked, “Will I get interest?”

It was amazing to see a sixth grader interested in a savings account. He didn’t ask to go to the store to buy toys, clothes or candy. He wanted to go the bank and deposit his money to get interest.

What have you done with the money your father gave you? Is interest working for you or against you? If you are in debt with high interest rates it's working against you, but if you are like Jordan with cash in hand and you invest it in interest bearing accounts it's working for you. (see Dave Ramsey’s, Financial Peace for more info on getting out of debt.)

Jesus told a parable of a King who left his workers with Ten Minas a piece. Two invested their money and gave him back more with the interest they had earned but one of them hid the money out of fear that the one who gave it to him would take it away. Why would he hide it from the one who gave it? Isn’t it odd that we hide our money from our heavenly father?

When we refuse to tithe or give our offerings it’s like we are telling God, “I don’t trust you with your own money.”

The two that invested their money got cites for their investment. The one who hid his money got his taken away and given to the one who already had ten. The owner said, “I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.

If you are interested in Savings you must learn to trust your father and put his money in things that give interest to your money. If you aim to live a kingdom life then the formula looks like this: 10% tithes, 10% savings, 10% philanthropy, 10% investments, and live off of %60. If you are just starting off and you want to build toward Kingdom living then your formula should look like this: 10% tithes, 10% savings, 80% living expenses.

Are you interested in Savings?

Dear God, thank you for your gifts of money you have blessed me with. I pray I would be a good steward and give you back more than you gave me. I want my life to be lived earning interest to build your Kingdom. Thank you for looking out for my best interest, now today, I choose to deposit my appreciation into heaven's bank account by doing good to those around me. I owe you me.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Don't Shut Up, Speak Up

Luke 18:39
Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Nobody knows more what you need from God than you do. When the opportunity comes your way to finally be heard there will be some people who will try to silence you because it threatens their agenda. Sometimes people will try to discount your voice because of pecking order. Since you are not leading the way then your words don’t carry weight in their eyes but God wants you to speak up and not shut up.

Jesus was passing by a blind man on his way into Jericho. What got this blind man’s attention was that there was excitement and energy in the air he hadn’t recognized before. It was something different about today. He has asked what was happening. Notice he didn’t say “who is it?” he said “what was happening?” he felt the possibilities of something supernatural. When you lose one sense the others get stronger. Maybe you need to ask God what’s happening where you are this morning. Could it be that Jesus is up to something?

Somebody said, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” This could have been another cue to shut him up. ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ There was a saying amongst the people that asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” How many times have we let popular opinion of somebody who can help us, override what we need from God? We will often let the demonization of popular opinion make us shut up and stop short of getting what we get because we believe what other people have to say without seeing it for ourselves. “You know he’s from Nazareth. Yeah he drinks with sinners, he’s friends with tax collectors, and they say he leads a cult…”

The blind beggar says, “Jesus Son of David, have mercy on me!” Son of David is a messianic title. The blind beggar sees what the others could not. This was God’s anointed and he shouted for his help. They told him to shut up, instead he got louder. How bad do you want it? If you want it bad enough you will not shut up, you’ll get louder.

Your sense of urgency and faith will get Jesus’ attention. When he stops don’t ask him for what you are used to asking for, today ask him for the impossible. It would have been easy for the beggar to ask him for some money, he was a beggar. Everybody expected that he would ask for money because he was a beggar. Instead, when Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do?” he answered, “I want to see!” Because if I can see I won’t need to beg anymore.

Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God.

Dear God, I want to see. I will not shut up just because other people don’t think I have the right to be heard. I feel something supernatural happening and I need you to do the impossible in my life today. I want to see my breakthrough. I want to see my healing so I can get up and praise you today. I will not shut up, I’m about to get louder!

In Jesus Name,

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Stepping Stone Not A Stumbling Block

Luke 17:1
Jesus said to his disciples, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come.”

Nothing is meaner than when one person purposely trips up another while they are walking. You may remember in grade school when you were walking, minding your own business, and you tripped over somebody’s foot who thought it would be funny to see you fall. What is it about human nature that we are entertained by seeing someone fall? We almost get giddy when someone falls from grace.

Why do we like to see people fall? Is it because we really want to believe that it’s not possible for people to walk upright? Is it that we never really like the person? Is it that maybe we were secretly envious of the person who fell? Or maybe we just want the person to come back down to our level to make us feel better about ourselves. I’m not saying that all of us enjoy seeing people fall. Many of us are grieved by the latest current events with one of the most influential spiritual leaders falling from grace. This is a day of great sadness. When one of us falls, all of us get bruised. As Christians, we must make up our minds that we are going to be stepping stones and stumbling blocks.

Jesus said people are going to stumble. It’s only natural that we lose our balance every now and then. All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. In the natural we have all tripped over our own feet or slipped/tripped over something. Sometimes, we tripped only to be relieved that nobody saw it. Then other times we had to get over the embarrassment of everybody seeing it, but what hurts the most is when the person you trusted trips you up.

Now look closely here. I’m not blaming the victims for tripping up the one who tripped him. When Jesus warns the disciples about tripping people up, he’s warning those that are stronger to look after those that are weaker. He’s chastising the ones who should know better than to trip up the “little ones.” It’s normally the older who should be looking out for the younger or the stronger looking out for the weaker in the faith. Jesus says, “woe unto you who causes one of these little ones to stumble.” As leaders/Disciples of Christ, we should be stepping stones and not stumbling blocks.

It’s a sin to trip people on purpose. We are stumbling blocks when:

1. We mislead people for our own selfish purposes.
2. We misuse our knowledge on people who have limited knowledge
3. We set traps that you know will cause people to fall.
4. Not warning people that the bridge is out up ahead.
5. Not sharing the truth of the Gospel of Jesus with friends who are going the wrong way.

Today, instead of celebrating somebody’s fall, think of a way to help somebody get back on their feet.

Dear God, forgive me for being entertained by other people’s falls. Help me to make sure nobody around me trips over me. Give me integrity to always look out for the interests of others and to seek the best for those that walk with me or by me. Show me how to keep the path clear of obstruction, give me sound teaching so that I can be a stepping stone for others to go higher in you.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hateration Is Validation

Luke 6:22
Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.

Everybody wants to be loved and respected. You want to know that people appreciate you. If you are the kind of person that needs a daily dose of this kind of validation then fulltime ministry may not be for you. When you really live out what it means to be a Christ follower and live out the true meaning of a radical gospel you will not be liked or loved by everybody.

Biggie Smalls said, “You’re nobody 'til somebody kills you.” Jesus said it another way, “you’re nobody until somebody hates you.” You’re probably not doing anything significant for the Kingdom if people are not hating on you. I’m not talking about people critiquing you for moral failure or ethical improprieties or even being addicted to mediocrity. I’m talking about people just being mean because you are outside the box and don’t conform to their paradigm of what they understand to be normal.

Hating is when people don’t like your light because they have no shine. Hating is when people assassinate a person’s character with no substantial proof of misgivings. Hating is when you cannot celebrate someone else’s achievement because they did it before you. You are a hater if you are reading this right now and wondering, “Is he talking about me?” (I see you, hi hater…LOL).

Not everyone is a hater just those who hate you and don’t even know why they don’t like you. There is nothing wrong with constructive criticism. Nothing wrong with people holding you accountable, but there is something wrong when people hate you for simply doing right and helping people.

Jesus was hated. He said, “No student is above his teacher. If they hated on me they are going to hate you too.” Jesus also said that there are three ways they hate on you and you are blessed when it happens:

1. When they exclude you. You may wonder why you are not invited into certain circles. You are not supposed to fit in. That’s why you are excluded. Your anointing will not allow the wrong people to be comfortable around you.

2. Insult you. They say ugly things about you to tarnish your name, whether it be your name, your business, or your organization. They try to demonize you so that it is easier for people to join in their hatred of you.

3. Reject your name as evil. They try to associate the mention of your name with everything bad. They can’t even stand for people to mention your name. “Oh you go over there?!” “Yeah I know him/her.” What is sad is that they don’t even know you. They’ve never sit down to have a conversation with you but they “know you.”
They do this not because the negative things they say are true but because of your relationship with the radical nature of Jesus. Jesus was a revolutionary who loved the marginalized, the poor, the tax collectors, prostitutes and the sick. His ministry methods were unorthodox; healing on the Sabbath, touching lepers, talking with women in public, drinking and eating with sinners. He couldn’t be contained in traditional boxes and traditional/religious people hated him.

When you operate in this pattern, people are going to hate you. What you need to be worried about is when everybody speaks well of you. V. 26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated false prophets.

Like NAS said, “you can hate me now but I won’t stop now!” the sooner you realize how blessed you are for being hated as a follower/disciple of Christ the more effective you will be. You’re not supposed to fit in. Your ‘Hateration’ is only Validation that God is using you.

Dear God, thank you for setting me apart for your service. It’s been lonely at times but the reward of seeing your people blessed has been worth the hits and the isolation. I know you sent me after those nobody else wanted and to say what nobody else would say and do what nobody else would do so we could live like nobody else has lived. We are blessed in the city, we are blessed in the field, we are blessed when we come and when we go. Thank you for blessing me when I’m hated on. I love my Haters.

In Jesus Name,